NFL Jersey Numbers

Learn which NFL players can wear which jersey numbers. 

NFL players in certain positions now have more jersey numbers to choose from.

An update to the 2021 NFL Rulebook allows defensive backs, tight ends, wide receivers, running backs, fullbacks, H-backs and linebackers to choose from a wider range of available numbers, including single digit numbers.

Here’s how players can now suit up after the update in 2021:

Position

Numbers Available

(2020 season and earlier)

Numbers Available

(2021 season and beyond)

Quarterbacks, punters and placekickers

1–19

Defensive backs

20–49

1–49

Running backs, fullbacks and H-backs

20–49

1–49 and 80–89

Tight ends

40–49 and 80–89

1–49 and 80–89

Wide receivers

10–19 and 80–89

1–49 and 80–89

Offensive linemen

50–79

Defensive linemen

50–79 and 90–99

Linebackers

40–59 and 90–99

1–59 and 90–99

The rule change proposal was submitted by the Kansas City Chiefs to the NFL Competition Committee and approved by owners on April 21, 2021. After practice squads were expanded for the 2020 season, some teams did not have enough jersey numbers available at certain positions. The new rule gives teams greater flexibility.

In 2021, nearly 50 NFL players took advantage of the new rule to don a jersey number not previously available to them.

DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers

Switched from 12 to 2 in 2021

Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore decided to go back to number 2 at the start of the 2021 season. He said the number 2 goes all the way back to his first experience playing football.

“It was my first ever real number I had when I won a championship when I was five years old,” Moore told Panthers.com. “I still have the same exact jersey.”

Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Switched from 28 to 7 in 2021

After winning Super Bowl LV, Leonard Fournette decided to take full advantage of the NFL's new uniform rules. 

The Buccaneers announced Fournette will wear the number 7, which is the same number he wore for his three seasons at LSU in which he managed to run for 3,830 yards and 40 touchdowns.

Patrick Peterson, CB, Minnesota Vikings

Switched from 21 to 7 in 2021

Patrick Peterson joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2021. The eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback announced he would return to the number 7, which he wore in high school and at LSU.

The only catch? Vikings practice squad quarterback Nate Stanley was already wearing number 7.

Stanley and Peterson worked out a deal: In exchange for the number 7, Peterson donated 10 sets of shoulder pads to Menomonie (WI) High School’s football team, Stanley’s alma mater.

History of NFL Jersey Number Rules

1973

Jersey numbers first standardized by position group across NFL.

AP/Al Messerschmidt

1979

Defensive linemen allowed to wear 90-99; centers allowed to wear 60-79.

AP/Greg Trott

1984

Linebackers allowed to wear 90-99.

AP/Greg Trott

2004

Wide receivers allowed to wear 10-19.

AP/John Froschauer

2010

Defensive linemen allowed to wear 50-59.

AP/Butch Dill

2015

Linebackers allowed to wear 40-49.

AP/Aaron M. Sprecher

2021

NFL adopts current expanded positional numbering rules.

AP/Ryan Kang

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